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Friday
May032019

Ikea's Swedish meatballs are getting a plant-based beef makeover

Daniel Fung/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- White Castle had an Impossible Slider. Then Burger King announced an Impossible Whoppers. Now it's Ikea's turn to see if a meatless classic is possible with plant-based Swedish meatballs.

Ikea announced it is working on a faux-meat Swedish meatball to debut in selected markets February 2020, the Swedish furniture emporium announced on Thursday.

Plant-based beef products are expanding, not just in home kitchens and hipster hangouts, but also finding a welcome at fast food giants, as customers become more environmentally aware and health conscious.

In its announcement, Ikea cited a World Health Organization figure saying that food production must increase by 70% to feed the world's population by 2050, and that there's not enough protein production currently to meet that increased demand.

“It is a really exciting industry! Looking at the quality of the products that we have been tasting I am looking forward to serving a delicious plant-based meatball made from alternative protein at IKEA,” Michael La Cour, IKEA Food Services managing director said in a statement.

The iconic Swedish meatballs have been a part of the Ikea experience for 35 years. The newest edition meatball will be the fifth variety. In 2015, IKEA added both veggie and chicken balls to its menu and in 2018 the company debuted the salmon and cod balls.

“IKEA meatballs are loved by the many people and for years the meatballs have been the most popular dish in our restaurants,” La Cour said. “We see a growing demand from our customers to have access to more sustainable food options and we want to meet that need. Our ambition is to make healthier and more sustainable eating easy, desirable and affordable, without compromising on taste and texture.”

Ikea said is hasn't chosen a partner yet, but other companies have embraced the imitation meat texture and look of Impossible — the plant-based Silicon Valley-based company behind the White Castle and Burger King versions of meatless icons.

After the premiere next year, the company only expects to keep it on the menu through 2021. The cost will be the same price as the classic meatball dish at its restaurants.

In the U.S., Ikea also offers veggie balls and veggie dogs.

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